Monday 26 February 2018

TV coverage of Leeds clash up in the air as owner refuses Sky Sports staff entry to Elland Road

Massimo Cellino
Massimo Cellino

Wayne Gardiner

Sky Sports' planned coverage of Leeds' clash with Derby remains up in the air as United president Massimo Cellino attempts to push through a blackout.

Press Association Sport understands the controversial Italian - currently in Miami - has instructed staff to deny Sky Sports' production crew entry to Elland Road for a game which is to be broadcast live on the network.

Staff from Sky Sports were denied entry to Elland Road on Monday as they arrived to set up for the match.

Cellino's stance is in response to the number of times his side have been shown on Sky Sports this season, resulting in a number of kick-off and date changes.

Leeds have been shown live on Sky Sports nine times already this season, with Tuesday's game taking them into double figures, with four of them home games. Two further games are already scheduled for 2016, making Leeds the joint-most covered club in the Championship, along with Derby.

Earlier this season Cellino said he would be capping Leeds' well-known large away support at 2,000 in order to make the point that his club would not be taken for granted, only to reverse the decision after fan dissent.

"The League has been made aware that Sky personnel have been unable to access Elland Road today as previously arranged," a Football League spokesman said in a statement.

"We have contacted Leeds United to remind the club of its obligations to our broadcast partner and to ask them for their observations.

"As yet, we have not received a response from anyone in authority at the club, but are hopeful that the matter can be resolved swiftly once the club does engage."

Former Cagliari owner Cellino is currently waiting for an appeal date as he fights a second Football League ban for breaching its Owners' and Directors' test following a tax evasion conviction in Italy.

He will not be present at Elland Road on Tuesday and has left the enforcement of his ban with other staff.

Sky Sports had no comment to make, with the resolving of the issue falling at the feet of the League and the club.

The League's rules state that broadcasters should be granted access to stadia, although as of Tuesday morning, no access had been gained by Sky.

The rules read: "73.2 The League or any subsidiary or associated company of The League or duly authorised agent or broadcaster (and its respective employees and agents) shall be allowed access to the grounds of all Clubs (and to the television gantries, camera positions and facilities) for the purpose of recording or broadcasting matches arranged under the jurisdiction of The League."

Press Association

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